Carl R. Ruderman, 81, former chairman of 1 Global Capital LLC (“1 Global”) was indicted yesterday with orchestrating a sprawling fraud scheme that affected more than 3,400 investors in 42 different states. Four of Ruderman’s co-conspirators have already pleaded guilty for their role in this fraud.
Alan G. Heide, 65, of Lake Worth, Florida, the former 1 Global chief financial officer, pleaded to a single count information, charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud (case no. 19-cr-60231), and was sentenced to 60 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Roy K. Altman. Judge Altman also ordered Heide to pay over $57 million in restitution to the victims of the scheme.
Andrew Dale Ledbetter, 81, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud (case no. 20-cr-60103), and was sentenced by Judge Altman to 60 months in prison. Judge Altman also ordered Ledbetter to pay over $148 million to the victims of the scheme.
Steven Allen Schwartz, 78, of Delray Beach, Florida, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud (case no. 20-cr-60003), and was sentenced to 24 months in prison by Judge Altman. Judge Altman also ordered Schwartz to pay over $36 million in restitution to the victims of the scheme.
Jan Douglas Atlas, 78, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud (case no. 19-cr-60258), and was sentenced to eight months in prison by Judge Altman. Judge Altman also ordered Atlas to pay over $29 million in restitution to the victims of the scheme.
According to the indictment, 1 Global was a commercial lending business based in Hallandale Beach, Florida, that made the equivalent of “pay day” loans to small businesses at high interest rates, termed merchant cash advance loans (“MCAs”). Rudermanwas the chairman of 1 Global and Heide was the chief financial officer. Schwartz was a director and consultant at 1 Global, and also held out as a chief operating officer in the company’s marketing materials. Ledbetter was an attorney licensed in the State of Florida who had an of counsel position at Law Firm #1 and acted in a fundraising capacity at 1 Global beginning around 2015. Atlas was a partner at Law Firm #1 and acted as outside counsel for 1 Global.
The indictment alleges that to attract investments, Ruderman and others, made false and misleading representations to investors and potential investors as to the profitability of 1 Global’s business in marketing materials and periodic account statements. Allegedly, investors were falsely told that 1 Global had audited financials by a public accounting firm, that the investor’s money would be spent on the MCAs, and that they could expect double-digit returns on their investments, among other things.
It is alleged that Ruderman spent 1 Global’s investor’s money on credit card payments, vacation travel, insurance payments for his art collection and valuable jewelry, drivers, nannies, housekeepers, mortgage payments for his house, tuition, and payments for a luxury car driven by his wife. Ruderman also diverted 1 Global investor money to businesses benefitting him and his family, without the investors’ knowledge.
According to the allegations, substantial questions arose during the operation of the business as to whether 1 Global was offering or selling a security and whether the investment offering was required to be registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Allegedly, these questions were raised by investors, investment advisors, and regulators. As alleged in the charging documents, Ruderman knew that if 1 Global’s investment offering were determined to be a security, it would undermine the ability of 1 Global to raise funds from retail investors and to continue to operate without substantial additional expenses and reporting requirements. Such a classification would undermine the profits and fees that Ledbetter and other principals at 1 Global would be able to obtain from 1 Global’s operations.
As alleged in the indictment, at the request of Ruderman, Atlas authored two opinion letters in 2016 containing false information that Atlas allegedly knew would be used by 1 Global to operate the business unlawfully. The opinion letters falsely described the duration of the investment, among other things, omitting the automatic renewal aspect and that the investment was being targeted toward retail, non-sophisticated investors (such as IRA account holders). Allegedly, Rudermanand others at 1 Global used and relied on Atlas’s opinion letters to continue to raise money illegally, in numerous pitches and communications to investment advisors and investors.
1 Global filed for bankruptcy on July 27, 2018. As of that time, according to documents from related cases, 1 Global had more than 3,400 investors and had raised more than $250 million during the scheme. The bankruptcy case, In re: 1 Global Capital LLC, et al., No. 18-19121-RBR (S.D. Fla.), remains pending.